Driving overseas

Why do I need an International Driving Permit?

  • International Driving Permits (IDPs) entitle the holder to drive in all counteracting countries without further examination. Check the International Driving Permit requirements of your destination before you travel.
  • It is a requirement for renting a car in many countries. Failure to do so may constitute a criminal or civil offence and may have more serious consequences.
  • It can trigger an exclusion under your travel insurance policy if claiming for loss caused while driving a motor vehicle overseas.
  • Provides an additional form of photo ID if your passport is locked away in a safe place.
  • In most cases, your current Australian driving licence is not enough alone when driving in a foreign country. It must be complemented with an International Driving Permit.
  • A valid IDP permits you to drive in most foreign countries in case of an emergency under normal IDP conditions.

How does an International Driving Permit work?

  • Your IDP carries your identification details in nine languages (English, Spanish, Japanese, Greek, German, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, French) in case you need to communicate with foreign authorities.
  • It is valid for 12 months from the date of issue unless the holder's domestic driving licence expires or is revoked in the meantime. IDPs cannot be post-dated under any circumstances.
  • It is not a stand-alone document or substitute for a valid driving licence - it must be carried with your current domestic driving licence at all times.
  • It in no way diminishes the obligation of the holder to conform strictly to the laws and regulations of the countries you visit.
  • Can only be issued to people over 18 years of age with a valid Australian licence (includes P-plate).
  • Cannot be issued to learner driver permit holders.

How do I apply for an International Driving Permit?

Only RACV and constituent members of the AAA (Australian Automobile Association) are authorised to issue International Driving Permits. To obtain an IDP you can apply by post or in person at your nearest RACV Shop.

Apply online:

Visit www.internationaldrivingpermit.com.au to apply for an IDP online.

Apply in person:

  • Visit your nearest RACV Shop
  • Bring your current Australian Drivers Licence
  • Provide a recent passport size and style photo*

*NOTE: Passport photos must be on photographic quality paper. Standard copy paper will not be accepted. Head shot cut outs from 'other' photos will not be accepted. IDP photos are available for purchase at selected RACV Shops. 

If you are already overseas, please apply for an IDP online by visiting www.internationaldrivingpermit.com.au.

If you are applying for or requesting the reissue of an International Driving Permit (IDP) from overseas, you are also required to provide:

  • proof that you are not resident in the country from which you are making the application (e.g. Copy of Australian passport)
  • proof of travel plans to other countries (e.g. Travel agent itinerary), and
  • the date of your return to Australia (e.g. Visa)

Travelling to Sri Lanka?

When a foreigner arrives in Sri Lanka, with an IDP you must obtain a recognition permit from the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) in order to drive/ride in Sri Lanka with your foreign licence and IDP.  This document is mandatory to hiring any vehicles in Sri Lanka.  Please note that this recognition permit is only applicable in Sri Lanka.
 
Furthermore, in a case of an accident, the insurance claim may be rejected in the absence of the recognition permit, please check with your insurance broker.
 
The cost of the recognition permit is AU$35 (subject to change).

Driving in Vietnam?

AAA is still getting a lot of queries in regards to an IDP for Vietnam.  An Australian IDP is not recognised in Vietnam. According to the Ministry of Transport of Vietnam, Vietnam accepts IDPs issued by countries who are members of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic 1968, for which Australia is not a member. Australia is under the 1949 Convention.

You are required to have a valid Vietnam drivers licence to drive in Vietnam for all vehicles, including motorcycles of 50cc or more. Non-Vietnamese citizens are only permitted to drive in Vietnam if they hold a temporary Vietnamese drivers licence. Fines for driving without a valid driver’s licence vary.

For a temporary Vietnamese driver's licence, the applicant must hold a valid Vietnamese residence permit of at least three (3) months validity.

In Hanoi, applications for temporary driver's licences should be directed to the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre, 16 Cao Ba Quat Street, telephone (04) 3747 0029, fax (04) 3747 0024. In Ho Chi Minh City, applications should be directed here.

Temporarily taking your car overseas

Effective 1 Jan 2017 AAA will be taking over the processing of Carnets. Customers are to post requests direct to AAA - GPO Box 1555 Canberra ACT 2601.

For more information on transporting your vehicle,  visit the AAA website.   

How long will it take to ship my car overseas?

You can start preparing your vehicle for shipping from a couple of months or up to more than a year depending on where you are shipping your car to.

The time it will take to ship car will vary and it is dependent on how many times a month there are sailings.  

For rates and more information on what is required please email General Cargo Forwarders at enquiries@generalcargo.com.au.

Do I need comprehensive car insurance while overseas?

Australian insurance companies won’t insure your car while it is overseas so you will have to find a company that will insure your vehicle while touring around other countries.

For classic cars please contact Hagertys Insurance for options on insurance.

Checklist

  • Shipping Company
  • Shipping Insurance
  • Carnet De Passage en Douane
  • Current RACV membership
  • Third Party Insurance
  • Comprehensive car insurance
  • International Driving Permit
  • CCI – if required
  • Contact Australian Customs for requirements on bringing your car back to Australia

For more information please call RACV HolidayLine on 13 13 29 between 9am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

Indonesia carnet

The AIT/FIA CPD has been officially accepted for the temporary importation of motor vehicles into Indonesia.
The Ikatan Motor Indonesia (IMI) is the only guaranteeing & issuing association that is authorised to operate with CPDs. The Indonesian Customs and the Police Authorities are to register all foreign vehicles entering into the country. IMI advises to follow the procedure below in order to facilitate the temporary importation and reduce the waiting times at the local customs posts.

1. IMI recommends that CPD users - through their issuing clubs - inform IMI in advance that they are going to travel to the country.
2. IMI would consequently inform the corresponding local customs posts and police authorities via email by sending an endorsement or “recommendation letter” for the vehicle to be temporarily imported.
3. The IMI might also request other details and information to provide to their authorities, so by the time when the vehicle enters Indonesia, the Police has already all the details concerning the vehicle and then it is authorised to drive immediately at arrival.

Malaysia carnet

Any private vehicle entering Malaysia needs a CPD and International Circulation Permit (ICP) to enter into the country. The temporary importation of private road vehicles to Malaysia is for only 90 days. This period may only be extended once only for a further 90 days. After these periods totalling 180 days, the vehicle must be exported, or registered in Malaysia, at which time all necessary duties, taxes and fees would have to be paid.

In Malaysia you are required to obtain an International Circulation Permit (ICP) before entering into Malaysia. This temporary permit is for foreign registered vehicles for tourist whilst travelling in Malaysia. To obtain this permit, the CPD holder must get in contact with the Automobile Association of Malaysia. (MAA) along with this ICP the CPD holder is required also obtain 3rd party insurance before the release of vehicles from Customs. For more information, please click here.

North America carnet

AIT-FIA Network have confirmed that the Corporation for International Business Boomerang Carnets (sm) has been appointed as the new Service provider of CPD services for Canada and the USA as of 1 January 2016.

The CPD processing and distribution services will be offered under the brand name Boomerang Carnets for AAA (American Automobile Association) and CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) member’s as well as non-members in both the USA and Canada.
Boomerang Carnets
Corporation for International Business (CIB)
325 North Hough Street, 2nd Floor
Barrington, IL 60010 USA
E: carnets@atacarnet.com
Website   

Sweden carnet

The Swedish Motormannens Riksforbund (M) has announced its withdrawal from the CPD system. It will no longer continue to offer a custom service to club members and Swedish travellers. From the 1st October 2015, M will cease to issue Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPDs).

The Swedish Club will remain responsible for customs documents issued by its office until all outstanding customs claims and customs litigation are resolved.

United Kingdom carnet

The Royal Automobile Club, London, UK (RAC) Motoring Services has announced its withdrawal from the CPD system. It will no longer continue to offer the customs service to club members and British Travellers, from the 1st January 2016 RAC will cease to issue Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPDs).

The British Club will remain responsible for customs documents issued by its offices until all outstanding customs claims and customs litigation are resolved.

A process has been put in place by FIA to look for a new association willing to keep on providing this service to the British travellers.

International Driving Requirements

International Driving Requirements

International Driving Permit (IDP)

Side of road to drive

Argentina

Recommended

Right

Armenia

Required

Left

Austria

Required

Right

Bahrain

Required. For private vehicles provided it is endorsed by the Traffic & Licensing Directorate or a Bahraini car rental company on arrival (for 12 months).

Right

Belarus

Recommended

Right

Belgium

Required

Right

Bolivia

Required

Right

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Not required. However stays of more than six months require a certified translation of the National Licence into Bosnian.

Right

Brazil

Not required. National driving licence accompanied by an official translation (done by a sworn public translator or by an Embassy of Brazil) and a photo ID required.

Right

Bulgaria

Required

Right

Canada

Recommended for car hire

Right

Chile

Required

Right

Colombia

Required

Right

Costa Rica

Recommended

Right

Croatia

Recommended

Right

Cyprus

Recommended

Left

Czech Republic

Required

Right

Denmark

Recommended

Right

Ecuador

Recommended

Right

El Salvador

Recommended

Right

Estonia

Recommended

Right

Finland

Recommended

Right

France

Required

Right

Germany

Strongly recommended

Right

Greece

Required

Right

Hong Kong

Recommended

Left

Hungary

Not required

Right

Iceland

Recommended

Right

India

Required

Left

Indonesia

Recommended

Left

Iran

Required

Right

Ireland

Recommended

Left

Israel

Recommended

Right

Italy

Required or sworn Italian translation of Australian driving licence

Right

Jamaica

Required

Left

Japan

Required

Left

Jordan

Required

Right

Kenya

Recommended

Left

Korea

Required

Right

Kuwait

Required

Right

Latvia

Recommended

Right

Lebanon

Required

Right

Lithuania

Recommended

Right

Macedonia (FYROM)

Recommended

Right

Malaysia

Required

Left

Malta

Recommended

Left

Mexico

Recommended

Right

Moldavia

Not required

Right

Mozambique

Recommended

Left

Namibia

Recommended

Left

Netherlands

Not required

Right

New Zealand

Not required

Left

Norway

Not required

Right

Oman

Recommended

Right

Pakistan

Required

Left

Paraguay

Required

Right

Peru

Recommended

Right

Philippines

Recommended

Right

Poland

Required

Right

Portugal

Recommended

Right

Qatar

Recommended International Driving Permits (1949, 1968) for 15 days; local temporary driving Licence issued by Licensing Authority on presentation of national driving licence

Right

Romania

Required

Right

Russia

Recommended

Right

Saudi Arabia

Required

Right

Senegal

Recommended

Right

Serbia

Recommended

Right

Singapore

Recommended

Left

Slovenia

Required

Right

South Africa

Recommended

Left

Spain

Required

Right

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Left

Sweden

Not Required

Right

Switzerland

Recommended

Right

Thailand

Required

Left

The Slovak Republic

Recommended

Right

Trinidad and Tobago (West Indies)

Required

Left

Tunisia

Required

Right

Turkey

Required

Right

Uganda

Recommended

Left

Ukraine

Recommended

Right

United Arab Emirates

Required

Right

United Kingdom

Not Required

Left

United States of America

Recommended

Right

Yemen

Recommended

Right

Zimbabwe

Recommended

Left

Take your RACV membership card with you when you go interstate and overseas and access immediate savings